Howard calls getting Cheadled the "Surprise of a lifetime" -

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Howard calls getting Cheadled the "Surprise of a lifetime"

Comments publicly on the IRON MAN 2 casting shuffle

By Rob M. Worley     October 19, 2008
Source: National Public Radio

Stark(Robert Downey Jr.) and Rhodes(Terrence Howard) are close in IRON MAN(2008).
© Paramount Pictures

News broke last week that actor Terrence Howard would not return to the role of Jim Rhodes in 'Iron Man 2'. Instead, Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle would take over the part in the highly-anticipated sequel. Reports were vague on the reasons for the change, but suggested that a money dispute was at the core.

More recently Howard did an extensive interview for NPR as part of his publicity tour for his just released CD "Shine Through It". NPR host Scott Simon took the opportunity to ask Howard about the situation.

The actor expressed dismay over the news.

"It was the surprise of a lifetime. It really was," Howard said, "There was no explanation, but it was gone...It just up and vanished."

Howard seemed baffled as to how the situation had gone sour, and suggested it was not about money. "Apparently the contracts that...we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on sometimes," Howard said.

Simon asked Howard if he sees a distinction between the business principles of Hollywood executives and the pimps he's played in movies.

"No. No. Promises aren't kept. Good faith negotiations aren't always held up," was the actor's response.

He even hinted at a sense of betrayal for others involved with the 'Iron Man' movies. "Even friendships, people that you support...," he began to say before trailing off and shifting gears.

Interested readers can download the 45 minute interview from the NPR link above, and forward to about 16:50 for the conversation about 'Iron Man 2'. There's also a 13 minute edited cut of the interview which provides some of the conversation about 4:30 in.

Here's the complete transcript of Howard and Simon's discussion of the casting bombshell. Howard comes off as sympathetic and stops short of slinging much venom or mud towards the casting decision makers. At times the conversation makes a convenient opportunity to weave in the positive message of his CD.

While fans are divided about whether replacing Howard with Cheadle is good news, bad news or very bad news, It'll be interesting to learn what really happened behind the scenes of this casting shake up. Unfortunately, Howard doesn't reveal much here.

Scott Simon: I have to ask about an announcement that came out recently. You're not going to be Jim Rhodes in 'Iron Man 2'

Terrence Howard: Yeah, I found that out too. [laughs]

Simon: Really? They didn't, they didn't...

Howard: It was, um...It was the surprise of a lifetime. It really was. It was like, "Wait a minute. How did this take place?"

Some things...There was no explanation, but it was gone. It was gone like life. It just, up and vanished and I read something in the trades that implicated it was about money or something but apparently the contracts that...we write and sign aren't worth the paper that they're printed on sometimes.

Those are the things that you've got to just shine through. You push right through it and I said, "wow, for some reason I did this before. I've seen this before."

And now the challenge is to not be angry. You keep moving forward...Like a lot of Americans I lost my 401k basically, because that was a very promising thing. You have to keep working. That's even more promising.

Simon: I haven't read the bi-play in trades about why Don Cheadle will apparently be playing your role, so I'm malinformed as I try to draw you along to this next part. But it occurs to me that you've played pimps.

Howard: Yeah.

Simon: So is there a difference between their business principles and the ones in Hollywood?

Howard: No. No.

Promises aren't kept. Good faith negotiations aren't always held up. Even friendships, people that you support...When it comes down to it the only true support you have is the work that you've done. The laurels of your work and the ethics by which you stand.

I found peacefulness in me though. That even in getting slapped when I was  a little kid when I would get attacked, even though I was strong enough to stop it I would never hit back, back then. I didn't start hitting back 'til I was 15 and I didn't stop hitting back until I was around 25, 28. I stopped hitting back then.

Even now I didn't hit back. So it reminded me that, wow, I'm back to the peacefulness that I had before.

You just wonder. You wonder. Is this my life? Or am I watching someone's life?


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BunyonSnipe 10/19/2008 10:17:34 AM

I still think he was a great choice, not your average cut and paste, gruff voiced action guy...

vichussmith 10/19/2008 10:49:46 AM

I feel like protesting this sequel, but I loved Iron Man too much too! How are they going to explain this? Are they just going to act like one black man looks like a totally different looking black man and continue on? I bet when I see this sequel in theaters, there will be a few people who are suprised that Howard is gone.

I don't see Cheadle as a guy in an action role. Funny, because that's what people would say about Robert Downey Jr. I know Cheadle's been in that terrorism movie recently, but for me, Cheadle's an actor in dramas, maybe a light comedy. I don't see Cheadle doing the cliche "Whoo hoo" when he puts on that War Machine suit. I think Cheadle's closer to how James Rhodes looks, but he doesn't seem like someone who would put up with Tony Stark's antics.

Maybe if I wake up tommorow, everything will go back to the way it was before.

PAGE 10/19/2008 1:53:51 PM

You know, when I first read the news that Howard was going to be replaced by Cheadle in IM2, and that it was due to money, it just sounded fishy to me because when the first movie was filmed, and Howard was being interviewed, he really seemed to feel like a kid and just couldn't wait to become War Machine in the next film. Not only that, he is a smart guy. How could it be about not getting more money when the experience of the film itself and the residuals he would have gotten from it, he would have gotten a nice amount of money overall from the entire franchise. I like his comment on comparing it to a 401K because that's what this franchise was for him. Why would he throw that away? Could it have possibly been his agent that got greedy and he doesn't know? I just don't believe that Howard was that greedy and asking for more money. Who wouldn't want to be in Iron Man? Not only that, who wouldn't want to be War Machine? It will be very interesting to see what responses come around regarding the change. They will try to say it was because Howard wanted more money, but I'll never buy that story. Judging from the interview, he was clearly upset and hurt that his role was recast. He was signed for more than one film but just like he said, it didn't mean anything. That's pretty F'd up.

hanso 10/19/2008 2:20:00 PM

Howard is mad son.  Matter of fact look what the cat dropped on Marvel's answering machine for giving him the boot.

Howard: I'ma make these suckers recognize I ain't playin' hoe
If you violate off the top trick you gotta go
I den held in a lot of shit and I'm bout to flip
Now I think it's time to show you bitches who you fuckin' with
THOW that's the name and I came to bring the pain
Ana on my chest got me bustin' at you lemon lames
You ain't know you fuckin' with a street nigga
From the gutta pimp tight slash drug dealer
Born and raised in the "M" Memphis Tennessee
Before it's said and done you bitches gon remember me
This only the beginning I got a lot to say
It's been a long time and you got hell to pay
Ain't no love hoe just bring it the door
I'm bar none let my nuts hang to the floor
So if you want some this is your death wish
Better come correct cause I came to break you off trick

Whoop that trick Howard, whoop that trick!

hanso 10/19/2008 2:21:06 PM
We'll never know what really happened but it very well could've been the money. He was signed for a contract but the guy wanted more money so they shipped him out. Maguire was trying to do the same thing after Spider_Man became a huge hit wasn't he? Thing the with Howard was he forgot he wasn't playing T.Stark the only dude they weren't gonna replace. No need to explain anything moviewise. We accept different people playing Batman, Hulk. Heck even with Rachel Dawes there was no explanation. They'll do the same with Rhodes.
sportwarrior 10/19/2008 3:04:02 PM

I believe Maguire did do something similar, but it's easier to believe he did it because he's one gigantic douchebag.

Howard, on the other hand, seems to be an intelligent, level headed actor who is more concerned with craft and character than he is the number of digets behind a dollar sign.  I'm a big Don Cheadle fan, but I liked Howard as Rhodes.  It's too bad he won't be returning.

almostunbiased 10/19/2008 3:09:57 PM

I like Howard and I think he was great.  I feel bad for him, but Cheadle will be awesome and I've always been a bigger fan of his.

Wiseguy 10/19/2008 3:50:53 PM
<P itxtvisited="1">hanso, I think is right. These guys never admit to the public that they want more cheese cause they it reflects badly on them. He forgot that he wasn't the star. And Cheadle is more than capable IMO. I won't miss Howard at all. The franchise won't skip a beat because of this and may enhance it as far as I'm concerned especially if they ever branch off WarMachine When someone says it isn't about the money hold on to your wallet cause more than likely it is about the money. We see it all the time in sports and Hollywood </P>
almostunbiased 10/19/2008 4:18:23 PM

True True

TayDor 10/19/2008 5:46:56 PM

Howard was the weak point in the movie. Howard's Rhoades in Iron Man was like Katie Holme's Dawes in Batman Begins...weak.

Howard was miscast.  I look forward to seeing Cheadle's take on the character.


Don't get me wrong, Howard is a fine actior.  This was not the role for him.

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